Syracuse 12-0 After Solid Win over Bucknell

With top teams all over the country losing to lesser opponents of late, top-ranked Syracuse had to come out of the gates hot against Bucknell on Tuesday. It did, and the result was an 80-61 win.

It was evident from the beginning on Tuesday.

Syracuse (12-0) was just too much for Bucknell (7-5).

Still, the game had to be played and it wasn't much of one by the time the first timeout was taken. SU jumped out to an 11-4 advantage and the margin only grew as time progressed.

Fueling the early run was freshman Rakeem Christmas, who scored the first seven points for the home team.

"Rakeem got off to a great start," Coach Jim Boeheim said. "I thought he did some really good things."

It ended up being a career night for Christmas, who scored 10 points and came down with five rebounds to go along with two big-time blocks in the win.

"Just playing hard," Christmas said of the effort. "Offensive rebounds, just going for it, trying to get at it."

The rest of the first half featured Orange runs of 8-0 and 7-0 just before the break. The lead was pushed to 20 at one point, but a late Ben Brackney three-pointer cut the lead to 39-22 at intermission.

Kris Joseph led the Orange with 17 points, doing most of his work before the break.

The gap that Joseph and company created was easy to point out upon watching Syracuse blow by Bucknell on the offensive end, while utilizing its size on defense. The Bison didn't help their own cause, missing each of their first seven three-pointers against the 2-3 zone despite a patient approach.

"If they would have made a couple more shots in the first half, this would have been a close game," Boeheim said. "They're a good team; they'll be in the NCAA Tournament."

In the final 20 minutes, the Bison made it interesting. Bryson Johnson made a trio of three pointers to cut the lead to just 13, which Bucknell achieved on three separate occasions.

The slow-down philosophy worked out for a period of time, frustrating some of the SU players – though they would work through it.

"That's the time you get tired," said Fab Melo – who had eight points and nine rebounds. "They waste 30 seconds moving the ball so that's why you got to stay in good shape to play games like that."

However, with about four minutes to play, a familiar face took the game over despite all of the Bison efforts.

Scoop Jardine.

The fifth-year senior went on a run all by his lonesome with a pair of threes, a drive to the hoop and an alley-oop to C.J. Fair. The burst got the lead back near 20, and it would hold up the rest of the way.

"Today I got some guys easy looks, and it opened up for me in the second half," said Jardine, who finished with 14 points and four assists. "(Then) I knocked shots down."

Next up for the Orange is 11-1 Tulane on Thursday at the Carrier Dome.


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